The second of two Bruce Lisman campaign fliers targeting rival Phil Scott
Updated June 1, 2016 at 2:25 p.m. with a quote from Ryan Mercer.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lisman, taken to task earlier this month for a campaign flier that targets rival Phil Scott, has ramped up his attack with a second flier just a week later.
Both of the mailings seek to link Scott, the three-term lieutenant governor, with departing Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin. Scott and Lisman are competing in the August primary for the Republican nomination for governor.
The new flier includes a photo of Scott and Shumlin laughing together overlooking what appears to be Lake Champlain. “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. Phil Scott Won’t Change Vermont’s Direction,” it declares.
The photo of Shumlin and Scott in the newer flier was taken in 2011 by freelance photographer Joshua Lambert for the Burlington Free Press. Lambert posted it on his blog. The full image shows that Scott and Shumlin were laughing along with Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce president Tom Torti, who was cropped out of the image on Lisman’s flier.
Lambert said he doesn't know if he or the Free Press owns the rights to the photo, but said: "I don't want my stuff being used in a political campaign."
Free Press photo editor Ryan Mercer said the paper and Lambert have dual rights to the photo. But because it appears Lisman’s campaign took the photo from Lambert’s website, the paper won’t pursue the issue. “If it was from our site, I’d be talking to a lawyer right now,” he said. "I think it's wrong."
By his own account, Scott gets along well with Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, too — he described their relationship as ‘honest’ and ‘trusting.’ The governor invites his deputy to cabinet meetings and pivotal press conferences and has done little to assist the Democratic candidates who’ve attempted to unseat Scott in the last two elections.
The flip side of the second flier shows unhappy people in a waiting room and says, “Phil Scott supported Governor Shumlin’s failed health care exchange.”
Scott has expressed doubts about the state’s rollout of the Vermont Health Connect insurance exchange and in recent months has called for moving instead to the federal exchange or a multistate alternative. Some Republicans have long criticized him for not being a more outspoken critic.
Lisman’s latest missive launched a sharp Facebook exchange with each of the candidates’ campaign managers entering the fray.
H. Brooke Paige of the Orange County town of Washington, a perennial candidate who is running as a Democratic candidate for both governor and attorney general, lit into Lisman on Facebook early Monday. “Lisman’s reality at odds with the facts!” Paige charged.
Paige pointed out that Shumlin endorsed Scott’s 2014 opponent, Dean Corren. “There are numerous articles from the 2014 election news cycle that confirm the icy post-endorsement relationship between Shumlin and Scott,” Paige wrote.
Lisman’s campaign manager, Shawn Shouldice, responded: “I’m sorry, Brooke, but I have to strongly disagree with your missive here. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott has often supported Shumlin’s health care policies. Perhaps even worse, he has too often stood by silently as the governor has pushed health care policies which have created much uncertainty, increased premium and out-of-pocket costs leaving fewer health insurance choices and options.”
That brought a quick response from Scott’s campaign manager, Brittney Wilson. “Shawn, this is so far from the truth. It’s disappointing to see you writing this nonsense,” Wilson wrote. “Let’s talk about ‘devastating’ … Bruce spent 40+ years working on Wall Street for the two companies who are responsible for the 2009 depression! He made millions off the backs of working Americans!!! And now he’s using that money to run a negative campaign. No one is buying your case!”
Disclosure: Terri Hallenbeck formerly worked at the Burlington Free Press.